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Case Name Davison v. State of Washington PD-WA-0003
Docket / Court 17-2-01968-34 ( State Court )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
The ACLU of Washington State filed this class action lawsuit against the Office of Public Defense (OPD) for failing to provide adequate defense to juveniles in Grays Harbor County, violating their Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and Article I, §§ 3 and 22 of the Washington state ... read more >
The ACLU of Washington State filed this class action lawsuit against the Office of Public Defense (OPD) for failing to provide adequate defense to juveniles in Grays Harbor County, violating their Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and Article I, §§ 3 and 22 of the Washington state Constitution. The suit was filed on April 3, 2017.

The complaint stated that children have the same right to due process as adults, and if anything, the right is more important for children because they cannot advocate for their own legal rights. The complaint alleges that children in Grays Harbor are being functionally denied counsel because attorneys are not present long enough to provide meaningful advocacy and adversarial testing. The complaint also alleged that the State is aware of the problem, and of several other constitutional violations, such as holding children on unchallenged bail amounts; giving children inadequate advice of rights, option, and consequences; and encouraging children to plead guilty without adequate consideration of legal defenses.

The proposed plaintiff class consisted of "all indigent persons who have or will have juvenile offender cases pending in pretrial status in Grays Harbor County Juvenile Court, and who have the constitutional right to appointment of counsel." The complaint estimated that approximately 20 cases are in pretrial status at any given time.

The complaint sought declaratory judgment stating that the current services children receive are constitutionally inadequate, and that the State is responsible for the constitutional deficiencies.

An earlier complaint was filed on March 23, 2017 by a taxpayer, demanding that the State Attorney general institute the proposed action. The Washington State Attorney General declined to institute the action on the grounds that it represented defendants. The current action was subsequently filed. Because of the conflict of interest with the Attorney General, an amended complaint, filed on May 12, 2017, requested that the court declare that the defendants possess the legal authority, as well as the "competence, expertise, and authority" to decide how to fix the constitutional inadequacies in the public defense system.

The case moved steadily toward trial throughout 2017 and 2018. A non-jury trial is scheduled for March 3, 2019. The case is still ongoing.

Rachel Carpman - 02/15/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Due Process
Discrimination-basis
Age discrimination
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Bail/Bond
Confidentiality
Juveniles
Quality of representation
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Defendant(s) State of Washington
Plaintiff Description All indigent persons who have or will have juvenile offender cases pending in pretrial status in Grays Harbor County Juvenile Court, and who have the constitutional right to appointment of counsel.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PD-LA-0005 : Allen v. Edwards (State Court)
Additional Resources
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  Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense
Date: 2011
By: Norman Lefstein (Indiana University--Indianapolis Faculty)
Citation: (ABA 2011)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel.
Date: Apr. 14, 2009
By: National Right to Counsel Committee (The Constitution Project)
Citation: National Right to Counsel Committee, Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel (2009)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  The Third Generation of Indigent Defense Litigation
New York University Review of Law and Social Change
Date: 2009
By: Cara Drinan (Columbus School of Law, Catholic University Faculty)
Citation: 33 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 427 (2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Indigent Defense Reform: The Role of Systemic Litigation in Operationalizing the Gideon Right to Counsel
Date: May 7, 2007
By: Vidhya K. Reddy (Washington University in St. Louis Law Student)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
17-2-01968-34 (State Trial Court)
PD-WA-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/08/2019
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Declaratory Relief
PD-WA-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/03/2017
Source: ACLU
show all people docs
Judges Lanese, Christopher Court not on record show/hide docs
PD-WA-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chiang, Emily (Washington) show/hide docs
PD-WA-0003-0001 | PD-WA-0003-9000
Harrington, Mathew L. (Washington) show/hide docs
PD-WA-0003-0001 | PD-WA-0003-9000
Schuster, Breanne (Washington) show/hide docs
PD-WA-0003-0001 | PD-WA-0003-9000
Talner, Nancy Lynn (Washington) show/hide docs
PD-WA-0003-0001 | PD-WA-0003-9000
Wang, Theresa H. (Washington) show/hide docs
PD-WA-0003-0001 | PD-WA-0003-9000

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